Oberlin Then and Now: Colonial Hall

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Historic photo of Colonial Hall and Ladies Hall the First  Present day view of Conservatory of Music

Then: Colonial Hall,1835, Now: Conservatory of Music, 1964, Minoru Yamasaki


The construction of Colonial Hall was begun in the autumn of 1835 and was completed in the summer of 1836, at a cost of $5,000. It was located west of the first Ladies Hall, north of the site now occupied by Sturges Hall [Warner Concert Hall, Conservatory Complex]. It was named Colonial Hall because the colonists subscribed nearly half of the cost of the building, and in return were given the privilege of using the lower floor for Sabbath services. Colonial Hall was a three-story frame building, 40 by 80 feet. The first floor was used as a chapel, accommodating from six to eight hundred; the second and third contained twenty-two rooms used for dormitory purposes for men. The second floor contained also a large recitation room. In 1855, after the completion of the College Chapel, the first floor was divided into four recitation rooms. It continued to be used for college purposes until about 1866, when it was divided into sections of a suitable size for dwelling houses and removed to other locations.

Source: From the 1936 Alumni Catalogue and a set of building cards created by the College Secretary's office, both located at the Oberlin College Archives

Photo courtesy of Oberlin Heritage Center